|Barked: Tue Jan 15, '13 12:23pm PST |
|Part of life, part of experience, part of GROWTH, is some degree of stress. Not life changing get mugged on a street corner stress, but some degree of stress. I had a gun held to my face once, and that was extremely not pleasant. But that said, all my years in NYC of feeling uncomfortable in the subway with a very odd person and just needing to hold it together, is what gave me the nerves to stay calm and emerge unscathed when a serious situation presented itself. This is learning. There are levels of stress where you do not learn, but there are levels where one profoundly learns.
There is scientific evidence that stress handling at an early age (five weeks or less) makes puppies not only better adapted adults, but that they have a better capacity to LEARN, this done by scientific experiments which yielded, to quote Dr. Michael Fox, "develops dogs which are superior when put in learning or competitive situations. They are better able to handle stress, are more outgoing and learn more quickly. Mild physical stress at an early age will actually increase the size of the brain." That's phenomenal.
It is also well documented, although to the best of my knowledge not officially studied scientifically outside of a fear imprint focus, that keeping puppies with their littermates and mother longer, part of which means within an era where there is a lot more competition, combat and scolding, yields far more well adapted adults. In my personal experience, adding unrelated adults into the mix only increases their social and stress handling capacities as adults.
Protecting your puppy from stress is not protecting your puppy. Socialization itself is part stress. If all you do is condition to accept, stress free, then you are interrupting the dog developing good capacity to weather stress. You are interrupting a critical learning function.
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